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New technology at NCH protects the heart during radiation treatment

March 26, 2018

The C-RAD Optical Surface Monitoring System (OSMS) is the latest addition to Radiation Oncology at Northwest Community Healthcare (NCH). The advanced technology pinpoints radiation treatment to tumor sites. It allows patients and their tumor to be monitored for movement while radiation treatment is administered.

OSMS tracks the patient’s position before and during radiation therapy, aiding in setup and treatment accuracy using 3D stereo camera units. Additionally, it tracks the patient’s skin surface throughout treatment and compares it to the ideal position for the patient with sub-millimeter accuracy. OSMS automatically signals as the patient moves out of alignment, helping adjust and realign the treatment delivery system to target the patient’s tumor.

“When radiation is delivered, we’re trying to optimally deliver dose to the tumor and avoid the normal structures such as the heart or lungs,” explains Stephen Nigh, M.D., Radiation Oncologist and Medical Director of Cancer Services at NCH. “This new technology allows us to precisely image the patient and the motion of the tumor, so we can block the normal tissues and decrease toxicity, both in the short and long term for patients.”

C-RAD technology is primarily used as a solution to reduce damage to the heart from radiation for patients with left-sided breast cancer. OSMS gates the radiation beam with the patient’s breathing, so that the radiation beam automatically turns off when the heart gets into the path of the radiation, which is picked up by the cameras monitoring the patients’ skin surface. Published data shows that it decreased the heart volume that was exposed to radiation by 50 percent.

Watch Dr. Nigh explain how C-RAD works:

C-RAD can also be effective for patients with lung, pancreatic and even prostate cancer, where precise treatment is needed.

If you are interested in learning more about this technology or to make an appointment with a Radiation Oncologist at NCH, call 847-618-6560.